Tuesday, July 16, 2013

More About Money and What We Believe

A few days ago I wrote about the great workshop I attended last week at UPAYA in Santa Fe. I gave you some of the highlights of Lynn Twist’s talk on “The Soul of Money” and our thinking about money, debt, spending, wealth etc.

While the workshop was not designed for people in recovery the concepts were so true and right for all of us who have changed our lives with the twelve steps.

Here are some of the things I learned from Lynn and that I have been thinking about since that workshop:

Everyone has anxiety about money. It’s not just those of us who are artists, or writers or working in nonprofits or who still have school loans (our own or our kids)—everyone has money anxiety, neuroses or weirdness. Isn’t that a relief? It’s not just your personal uncomfortable secret; it's part of the culture.

And: everyone has a money regret—something they did or didn’t do (save, invest, buy) and every family has a money secret or resentment (how they got it, how they lost it, who loaned it, who didn’t pay it back.) Again—it’s not just you and me and our families—everyone—even the very rich—have money crazies and money shame. The suffering we feel around money is not personal; it’s in our culture.

Part of this money madness comes from the significance we give to money. In our culture and our country we literally will kill and destroy for money. Think about it. We will pollute, kill the rainforests, make military decisions, health decisions based on money. And we will not speak to a family member or an ex for years and years all because of money. We believe the lie of scarcity and that leads us to roll across our values and morals where money is an issue.

Scarcity leads us to think, “I have to get mine.” And “I have to get more.” So we spend and spend to get more and more and it never feels like enough.

One of the most interesting things we did in the Upaya workshop was spend time on our personal beliefs about “not enough-ness” and admit out loud where we were stuck and write plans to shift that mindset. One of the steps for me was challenging myself when I saw something beautiful to ask myself if I could just enjoy seeing the beautiful thing: bowl, scarf, shoe, painting—and not have to own it. That is a challenge but it also starts to feel freeing.

This was one of the areas where I felt the recovery energy flowing. Lynn talked about how a transformation is very different from a change. Here are her words: “A transformation is a liberation of consciousness from something that was confining or limiting. A change is how we anchor a transformation in the world.”

I understood her to mean that rather than making a lot of personal changes we should be seeking deeper transformation. Sound familiar? Kind of like don’t just stop drinking but rather surrender and have a deep awakening. Transformation is at a very deep level and after that happens we begin to make changes. Make sense? A transformation happens  in us whereas changes are our external acts of our own will.

These words really struck me: “”Transformation does not regret the past; with transformation the past makes sense.”

To learn more about Lynn Twist here is a link to her Soul of Money website:


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